Monday, 9 May 2011

Book Review: DYING IN THE WOOL BY FRANCES BRODY

Genre:  Mystery & Suspense
Published by:  Piatkus Books  (Oct 2009)
Pages:  356  (Paperback)

Source:  Library
My Rating:  9/10

About the Book:

Take one quiet Yorkshire Village, add a measure of mystery, a sprinkling of scandal and Kate Shackleton - amateur sleuth extraordinaire!
Bridgestead is a quiet village: a babbling brook, rolling hills and a working mill at its heart. Pretty and remote, nothing exceptional happens, except for the day when Joshua Braithwaite, goes missing in dramatic circumstances, never to be heard of again. Now Joshua's daughter is getting married and wants one last attempt at finding her father. Has he run off with his mistress, or was he murdered for his mounting coffers?
Kate Shackleton has always loved solving puzzles. So who better to get to the bottom of Joshua's mysterious disappearance? But as Kate taps into the lives of the Bridgestead dwellers, she opens cracks that some would kill to keep closed …

First Lines:

My name’s Kate Shackleton.  I’m thirty one years old and hanging onto freedom by the skin of my teeth.  Because I’m a widow my mother wants me back by her side.  But I’ve tasted independence.  I’m not about to drown in polite society all over again.

Kate, who’s husband is missing, presumed dead in WW1, has a knack for finding people, but when asked to find her friend’s father in a sleepy little village, who disappeared 7 years ago, she discovers that not everyone is who they seem and some of them are downright dangerous!

As her investigations continue into finding the whereabouts of Joshua Braithwaite, an aggressive, narrow-minded womaniser who was also the pillar of the local chapel, she questions his wife, Evelyn who was not sorry to see the back of him; Tabitha, his daughter, who blamed herself for not being there when he disappeared; Hector, Tabitha’s fiance, who knew more than he admitted;  as well as many others who have their own reasons for being glad that he was gone.

When someone is murdered at the mill, Kate sets out to find out whether there was any connection to Joshua’s disappearance or if it was just a coincidence.

This is a good old-fashioned mystery, set in the 1920’s, the writing has the feel of that era, and I loved how Kate’s car driving caused so much surprise (what, a woman driver!!).  I enjoyed the slow pace of life which mirrored the slow pace of the build up to the ending.

Also, I warmed to Kate straight away, she was a lovely, friendly person, who valued her independence but who was also desperately missing her husband. It was a little sad that she could find other missing people but not her own husband. 

If you’re a fan of the cozy mystery genre I would add this to your list!

This is the first in the Kate Shackleton Crime Series - the second book, A Medal for Murder, is out now and the third, Murder in the Afternoon, is out in September 2011.  Frances Brody’s website can be found here

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